State Bar to sell 250K sf HQ building in San Francisco

Agency to seek smaller digs in the Bay Area as more employees work from home

State Bar of California chairman Ruben Duran with State Bar of California headquarters, 180 Howard Street San Francisco (LinkedIn, Google Maps)
State Bar of California chairman Ruben Duran with State Bar of California headquarters, 180 Howard Street San Francisco (LinkedIn, Google Maps)

The State Bar of California is poised to sell its 250,000-square-foot headquarters building in San Francisco and move to smaller offices in the Bay Area as it shifts to a hybrid schedule that allows it to work from home three days a week.

The organization, an arm of the California Supreme Court that licenses and regulates attorneys, has enlisted Cushman & Wakefield to sell its headquarters at 180 Howard St., the San Francisco Business Times reported. It bought the 13-story building in 1995 for $22.5 million.

Cushman will also work with the agency to find a new space in the Bay Area, either through purchase or lease. A sales price for 180 Howard St. hasn’t been disclosed.

The 1980s-era building in the Financial District sits two blocks off the Embarcadero and across the street from the former headquarters for Charles Schwab, which was listed last year for around $400 million.

The State Bar has considered selling the property since 2014, but the pandemic accelerated its plans with work-from-home schedules.

Last week, its employees in San Francisco and Los Angeles were called back to the office for a two-day-a-week hybrid work schedule.

The new schedule has changed the agency’s need for space, agency spokeswoman Teresa Ruano told the newspaper.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

The State Bar also faces maintenance expenses it can’t keep up with because of the “way the agency is funded,” Ruano said. The agency, which gets the bulk of its funding from the state Legislature, leases out several floors to add revenue but has encountered an “ongoing challenge to keep that space leased,” she said.

The city’s current office vacancy rate across 82 million square feet of inventory is between 22 percent and 24 percent, the newspaper reported.

Despite some city office workers returning to downtown, many companies continue to give up space in favor of remote work, with current occupancy at 35.5 percent of 2019 levels, according to data provided by JLL.

“Most big tech companies have announced hybrid office re-entry plans but this has not led to a massive rebound in in-person work,” said Alexander Quinn, JLL’s director of research for Northern California.

Last week, data analyst Splunk announced it would vacate its avant garde headquarters in South of Market and consolidate it in a former salami factory next door.

Last month, A PayPal subsidiary announced it would close its office in the Financial District, as more employees since the pandemic engage in remote work.

[San Francisco Business Times] – Dana Bartholomew

Read more